More goods unloaded in Dutch seaports, inbound cargo from Russia decreasing

© Hollandse Hoogte / Peter Hilz
In 2022, the total volume of inbound and outbound transport of goods at Dutch seaports fell by 1.2 percent to 622 million tonnes, relative to the previous year. In particular, more goods were unloaded: 4.6 percent, while the volume of loaded goods decreased by 5.8 percent. Shipments from Russia dropped substantially, while those from the United States surged. This is evident from new figures released by Statistics Netherlands (CBS).
Some 433 million tonnes of goods were unloaded at Dutch seaports in 2022. In particular, more liquid bulk goods were unloaded (+8.8 percent), such as gas and petroleum (products). Furthermore, there were more inbound dry bulk goods (+4.3 percent), such as coal, relative to 2021.

Inbound and outbound sea freight
Verschijningsvorm2022 (mln tonnes)2021 (mln tonnes)
Liquid bulk goods202.2185.9
Dry bulk goods129.1123.8
Container goods75.281
Ro-Ro cargo11.110.7
General cargo/other15.712.9
Wet bulk goods74.576.4
Dry bulk goods21.320.2
Container goods65.676
Ro-Ro cargo21.221.5
General cargo/other6.46.4

Inbound gas from US doubled

Gas imports rose by 60 percent to 16 million tonnes. Due to the war in Ukraine, an alternative to Russian gas was needed, which partly resulted in a doubling of inbound gas shipments from the US (+98 percent).

More crude oil and petroleum products (+5.5 percent) were unloaded as well, mainly from Middle Eastern countries (Iraq, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates) and Africa (Egypt and Angola). There was a sharp decline in inbound cargo from Russia (-24 percent).

Development of inbound maritime bulk goods, 2022
GoederensoortGelost (% year-on-year change)
Liquid bulk goods
Liquefied gas (LNG)60.4
Crude oil4.8
Crude oil products6.5
Other liquid bulk goods9.7
Dry bulk goods
Agricultural products2.4
Other dry bulk goods0.3

More coal shipments, fewer ores and containers

Among the dry bulk goods, more coal was imported in particular; 21.2 percent more than one year previously. By contrast, fewer ores shipments were unloaded (-10.2 percent). Particularly from Ukraine, fewer ores shipments were received in the Netherlands (from 1.5 million tonnes in 2021 to 160 thousand tonnes in 2022).
In 2022, fewer goods in containers were loaded and unloaded in Dutch seaports as well. While the weight of inbound container goods fell by more than 7 percent, the weight of outbound containers dropped by almost 14 percent. This was partly due to the collapse of container traffic to and from Russia following the invasion of Ukraine; inbound and outbound volumes were down by 79 and 70 percent respectively relative to 2021.

Most shipments from Russia in 2022, no longer in Q1 2023

Despite a huge drop in inbound shipments from Russia (-32 percent relative to 2021), most goods in 2022 were still originating from that country, which changed due to additional sanctions from the EU as from December 2022 (regarding crude oil, petroleum products and coal from Russia). In the first quarter of 2023, most inbound cargo originated from the United States.

In the first quarter of 2023, altogether fewer goods were unloaded (-2.9 percent) than in the first quarter of 2022. Inbound cargo from Russia fell by almost 80 percent in the same period. By contrast, 46.8 percent more inbound cargo arriving from the United States was unloaded; from 9.8 million tonnes to 14.4 million tonnes. The remaining countries in the unloaded cargo top five were: the United Kingdom (10.8 million tonnes), Norway (6.8 million tonnes), China (5.7 million tonnes) and Brazil (5.3 million tonnes). Russia ranked sixth with 3.9 million tonnes. This was still 19.2 million tonnes in the first quarter of 2022.

Inboud bulk goods by sea, top 5 countries
LandenQ1 2022 (mln tonnes)Q2 2022 (mln tonnes)Q3 2022 (mln tonnes)Q4 2022 (mln tonnes)Q1 2023 (mln tonnes)
United Kingdom1111.610.710.910.8
United States9.811.31212.314.4

As of 2023, CBS uses a modified method to produce maritime statistics. The series according to the new method is available from 2021, but longer time series will also become available in 2024 on StatLine.